Milan Lucic scores first as a Flame, Calgary beats Buffalo

Flames 5 Sabres 3

CALGARY — Milan Lucic scored his first goal with Calgary, and it turned into the winner as the Flames held on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday.

The Saddledome erupted at 3:58 of the third when Lucic finished off a passing sequence with Derek Ryan and Dillon Dube for his first goal in 29 games, dating back to last season when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Chants of “Looo” rained down from the crowd as Lucic hugged his linemates in the corner after putting Calgary ahead 4-1.

Tobias Rieder, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary (14-12-4). Monahan also had an assist for his first multi-point game since Nov. 7. The Flames have points in five straight games (4-0-1).

Interim head coach Geoff Ward improved to a perfect 3-0-0.

Sam Reinhart, Jake McCabe and Jack Eichel scored for Buffalo (13-11-5), which entered the night with points in its previous four games. Eichel extended his point streak to 11 games (10-10-20).

The goals by McCabe and Eichel came in the last three minutes — Eichel’s coming with the goaltender pulled — to set up a furious finish.

David Rittich made 26 saves to improve to 13-7-4. Linus Ullmark, who had 25 stops, saw his record fall to 7-6-2.

After successfully killing off three straight first-period Sabres power plays, the Flames tied it 1-1 at 16:42, converting their first man-advantage.

Set up by Monahan, Gaudreau strode to the face-off dot and ripped a shot into the top corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Gaudreau, who scored 36 times last season, entered the night without a goal in his last 10 games and with just two in his last 24 games.

Rieder’s short-handed goal at 11:18 of the second broke a 1-1 tie. Sprung on a breakaway by Ryan, Rieder sped in on Ullmark and on a deke, neatly slid the puck through the pads of the Sabres goaltender.

At 15:02, Calgary surged in front 3-1 when Mikael Backlund set up Monahan for a one-timer from a sharp angle. It was the seventh goal of the season for Monahan, who is coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons.

Gaudreau and Monahan snapped their slumps on a night in which Ward reconfigured his top two lines. Separated to start the game, Ward did reunite the duo, but with a new-look winger in Backlund.

Meanwhile, Elias Lindholm, the other longtime member of Calgary’s top line, shifted to centre and skated between Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane.

Buffalo opened the scoring 3:29 into the first period when Reinhart redirected Rasmus Ristolainen’s point shot past Rittich.

Notes: Travis Hamonic (lower body) returned to the line-up after missing six games… Flames improve to 9-3-1 against the Eastern Conference.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City’s COVID-19 cases jump to nine from six

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

City of Red Deer trims staff by five per cent to deal with new economic realities

Downsizing of the municipal workforce will cut the annual budget by $7 million

Boys and Girls Club haunted house cancelled

Popular spookfest postponed because of pandemic health restrictions

Demand at Catholic Social Services jumps during pandemic

Provincial fundraising campaign launched

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Atlantic City is leading a wave of female casino leaders

Atlantic City is leading a wave of female casino leaders

Snowbirds debate making southern migration during COVID-19 crisis

Snowbirds debate making southern migration during COVID-19 crisis

Study finds about one-third of Indigenous grads find work with Indigenous employers

Study finds about one-third of Indigenous grads find work with Indigenous employers

Canadian crude-by-rail exports fall to another eight-year low in July

Canadian crude-by-rail exports fall to another eight-year low in July

Inter Pipeline signs deal to sell majority of European storage business

Inter Pipeline signs deal to sell majority of European storage business

North American stock markets rebound despite concerns about COVID, U.S. gridlock

North American stock markets rebound despite concerns about COVID, U.S. gridlock

Survey finds most Canadian Olympic athletes against medal podium protests

Nearly 80 per cent of athletes want to keep protests off the field

Canadians Ghislaine Landry, Britt Benn named to rugby sevens Dream Team

Landry is the all-time leading scorer on the women’s sevens circuit

Most Read